Head chef, Chris Cleghorn, from The Olive Tree, Bath serves up his top 5 sophisticated canapé options for the festive period, along with Restaurant Manager, Salem Nafekegu’s perfectly poured drink recommendations.
Baked Jerusalem artichoke, Tunworth, pickled pear
“This flavour combination is a match made in heaven. For best results, clean and then bake the artichokes on rock salt at 190C/gas 5. Once the flesh is just beginning to soften, cut a slit down the centre of the artichoke and place slice of the Tunworth inside along with the pear spiked out the top. Also try to use champagne vinegar and sugar to pickle the pears – cheaper vinegars are too strong. This dish will look best by keeping it looking rustic.”
🍸 Paired with: a large flute of subtly bubbly Veuve Clicquot Champagne.
Smoked salmon, soured cream, pickled mooli, lemon, dill
“Mooli is also known as daikon or white radish. Dice the smoked salmon into small cubes, adding the soured cream, lemon zest and chopped dill. The mooli needs to be sliced thinly on a mandolin to get the perfect finish. Also, only add a splash of vinegar to the mooli, not to overpower its subtle flavour.”
🍸 Paired with: a fresh, crisp white like Grüner Veltliner, or a dry rosé like Tavel La Forcadiere.
Citrus cured sea bream, cucumber, crème fraiche, clementine
“The freshness of the sea bream is key for this dish. Remove the skin and bones, and slice into thin long slices. Brush with some lime juice and sea salt on both sides to cure the fish. Use a high quality, thick crème fraiche and finish it with some clementine zest. To serve, you can have everything ready, but best to put together last minute.”
🍸 Paired with: a large chilled glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
Poached and roasted partridge sausage, quince jam, chicory
“This is a great twist on using the best winter ingredients. The partridge sausage can be made by making a partridge mousse and poaching in water. Make sure the quince are ripe so you get maximum flavour. The chicory add a great crisp texture and a subtle bitterness to the canapé.”
🍸 Paired with: a young, unbaked Chablis, which has clean and crisp acidity to contrast the partridge mousse.
Lamb belly fritter, sauce gribiche
“Lamb is at its strongest flavour at this time of year, so perfect for this dish. Lamb belly or leg could be used and is cooked slowly in oil. The lamb is then picked, seasoned and pressed flat in the fridge. Cut into 5cm chip sizes and coat in breadcrumbs. Deep fry last minute for best result. Sauce gribiche is a great compliment for this because it combines diced cornichons, capers, hard-boiled egg, Dijon mustard and a little chervil.”
🍸 Paired with: a vodka-based cocktail with 35–40% alcohol to cut through the richness of the lamb.